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Home » HISTORY » MAINE » The Laws of New England
The Laws of New England

By Michael F. Bisceglia, Jr. | July 22, 2010

I am a law-abiding individual. If a law exists there has to be a good reason for it. I will assume, Gentle Reader, that you are of the same ilk as I (yes, I know, don’t assume.). So you will need to be well-versed in some of the laws of this fair land of New England. Hang on; we’re about to take a whirlwind legal trip.

Let us begin in Rhode Island.

• It is an offense to throw pickle juice at a trolley. (You don’t want to do that; it may stain someone’s straw hat).

• No matter how much one begs, that individual may not be sold toothpaste and a toothbrush on a Sunday. (This must have been written for the guy who ate the pickles).

• Professional sports (except for ice polo and hockey) must obtain a license to play on Sunday. (One should have their toothpaste and brush before the game, too).

• In Newport, it’s illegal to smoke a pipe after sunset. (That settles it. I guess I won’t be stargazing in that town).

Now, on to Connecticut.

• Under law, a 16-year old boy could be put to death if he cursed at or disobeyed his parents. (“Up against the wall, Sonny, I told you not to use that”).

• In Waterbury, it’s illegal for a beautician to hum, whistle, or sing while working on a customer. (Now, you know the reason why Ipods were invented).

• It’s illegal to clam at night. (I guess the clams can’t see you coming, giving you an unfair advantage).

• In New Britain, it’s illegal for fire trucks to go over 25 mph when going to a fire. (If you live there, you better hope for a slow-moving fire).

• In order for a pickle to be officially considered to be a pickle, it must bounce. (The law doesn’t say if the object has to do this on its own or with assistance).

Let’s move north...

In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to:

• Drive Texan, Mexican, or Indian (Native American - let’s be politically correct here, huh?) cattle on a public road. (Keep those’, but not here).

• It’s illegal to take a lion to the movies. (Okay, but what if it’s an MGM movie?)

• It’s illegal to go to bed without having had a full bath. (Partial baths won’t do?)

• Alcoholic drink specials are illegal. (Well, so much for fuzzy navel happy hours).

• Children may smoke, but they may not buy cigarettes. (I suppose begging butts is encouraged).

Okay, a little northeastward.

In New Hampshire, it’s illegal to:

• Pay off a gambling debt with the clothes one is wearing. (I guess you can’t lose the shirt on your back here).

• Rake a beach. It’s considered “maintaining a national forest without a permit.” (I guess one doesn’t need a building permit to erect a sand castle).

• Nod one’s head, tap one’s feet, or in any way keep time to music in a tavern. (If you agree with this law, blink twice).

• Pick up seaweed on the beach. (Certainly, if left unchecked, folks will be growing it in their cellars).

• Run machinery on Sundays. (I suppose that means lawnmowers; Patriot fans must be excited about that one).

Now west.

In Vermont,

• Whistling underwater is illegal. (We don’t want to scare the fish, do we?)

• Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. (Does that keep them from whistling?)

• In Barre, all residents must bathe every Saturday night. (“Okay, Fred, we didn’t see you down at the community tub this weekend. Up against the wall and spread”).

• I for one am glad to see this law stricken from the books. It used to be illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole. (Let’s get cell phones like everyone else).

On to Maine.

• After January 14th, a person will be fined for having Christmas decorations still up. (“Put down that angel, and step slowly away from the tree”).

• Shoelaces must be tied when walking down the street. (Together?)

• One may not step out of a plane in flight. (Especially, if one’s shoelaces are not tied).

• In Portland, one can’t stroll down the street and play the fiddle. (Walking and chewing gum, however, is highly encouraged).

• Also in Portland, it’s illegal to tickle a woman’s chin with a feather duster. (One might get life if one is playing the fiddle at the same time).

Okay, you know the laws. Now, be careful out there.

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